What to Do if You Lose Your GCSE Certificates – A Student’s Guide

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Losing your GCSE certificate is an inconvenience for students and can be a cause for panic. However, the process of obtaining a new certificate or a form of verification for the GCSEs you have completed is straightforward. Students tend to be concerned regarding the replacement of such certificates as it can interfere with applications for apprenticeships or employment prospects but haven’t been made aware of the avenues in which they can go about this. How do you apply for a certificate? Do you need your GCSE certificates? Do colleges check whether you have your GCSE certificates? This article will appease any concerns you have regarding obtaining a certificate and will direct you through the process. 

Ultimately, in order to obtain your GCSE certificates, you need to contact the exam boards that you had when sitting your exams by completing the relevant form on their website. If you aren’t certain of the exam boards you took when sitting your exams, you would contact your school which will provide you with the details. Subsequently, you will need to provide identification and pay a fee – this will then mean the exam boards can post a copy of your GCSE certificate or a certificate verifying the grades that you achieved. 

Despite the fact that you now have an understanding regarding how to obtain your GCSE certificates, I would still recommend you read the full article so that you will gain a greater understanding of the process as you will be made aware of more details about such certificates. 

How Do You Get Replacement GCSE Certificates?  

To obtain a replacement GCSE certificate you need to contact the exam board that you had when you were sitting your GCSEs – depending on your specific circumstance, the exam board will respond differently. For instance, with GCSE certificates the exam boards are only able to provide you with a certified statement of results, if you have lost your original GCSE certificate. The five exam boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are: AQA, CCEA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR and WJEC. For your GCSE exams you will have had exams under different exam boards, so if you have lost numerous certificates, you will have to contact the relevant exam boards for each individual certificate.  

A certified statement of results consists of the subjects you took, the year they were taken and the grades that you have achieved. The exam board will only provide you with a replacement GCSE certificate if your copy of the certificate has been damaged – in this instance you would return your original copy of your GCSE certificate and subsequently apply for a replacement. Once, you have done this you will receive a copy of your original certificate via post. 

How Do You Apply for a Certified Statement of Results?  

To apply for a certified statement of results you need to begin by contacting the exam board which issued the original certificate and state which exams you have taken, as well as the year that you had taken these exams – if you go onto the relevant exam board website you will find an application form to fill in. They will also ask for identification before proceeding further. The exam board will need a copy of your birth certificate, your current driving licence (if you have one) and your current passport or your ID card.  

If your name has changed since your exam, you will also need to provide the exam board with a marriage certificate (if your married), a deed poll, decree absolute and birth certificate.  

Often when applying to get a certified statement of results a fee is required, and it tends to be around £40. This varies exam board to exam board – For instance, AQA requires a £43.00 fee; whereas CCEA requires a £30.00 fee and then £10.00 per additional certificate required. So, it’s worth ensuring you check how much you need to pay accumulatively. Also, exam boards vary on priority protocol – AQA does not have a priority protocol; whereas, Pearson Edexcel does have a priority protocol, a priority replacement certificate which is £67.00. So, it is worth noting that exam boards operate differently due to how much strain they are under. 

 The fee is also non-refundable, so before applying for the certified statement of results ensure that you haven’t just misplaced your results and they actually are missing – Once, the payment has been made you will receive a certified statement of results via email or post. It can take up to 4 weeks for the exam board to process your application and there isn’t usually a priority protocol, so if you want to receive a certified statement of results you need to get in contact with the relevant exam boards as soon as possible so you can receive your certificate promptly. 

Below, you can find out more about each different application process, depending on the exam boards that you are interested in: 

What Should You Do if You Don’t Remember Which Exam Board You Had?  

If you don’t remember which exam board you had, you should initially ask friends who went to the same secondary school as you, as they may have their GCSE certificates and all of the awarding body information will be details stated on the certificate. If you are unable to contact your old school friends or if they have also lost their GCSE certificates you can contact your secondary school.  

If you provide them with the year that you left the school and which subjects you had taken, your secondary school will be able to find the exam boards that they used for your cohort and get back to you. Secondary schools keep results for a few years, but often keep them for longer, so they will be happy to support previous students with finding these details (if you want to find out more about how long schools keep your GCSE certificates, take a look at this useful article).  

It may be daunting to go back into school, especially as you are no longer a student that goes to the school; however, it shouldn’t take long to find the exam board and it may be rewarding to go back to your secondary school once more. If you cannot go into school, for whatever reason, you can always call in and staff should be able to give you the details you need this way. 

What Should You Do if Your GCSE Certificate Needs Amending?  

If your GCSE certificate needs amending due to your name being misspelt/changed or you need the certificate to be changed due to gender reassignment, you need to contact the exam board. If you email the exam board, they should provide you with the details you need to submit in order to amend the certificate or to gain another form of verification for the GCSEs you have completed. Exam boards are used to these issues with certificates, so you will quickly be directed with the steps you need to take to amend your certificate. This involves showing a form of identification of your current and past name etc. 

Some people decide to keep their certificates that have their old name on and when required (which is rare) show these certificates to their employer. If you are asked to show your certificate, your name at the time needs to be on the certificate, any previous name will mean the certificate is invalid and will cause confusion. The likelihood of employers checking your certificate is low. However, if you do show them a certificate with the wrong name, they are likely to ask you for one that has your current name, to ensure that the certificate is yours. So, to spare time you should have these certificates changed or corrected. 

Do You Need Replacement GCSE Certificates?  

While most people would like to have their GCSE certificate, a replacement of your GCSE certificate isn’t necessarily needed as when you are working, employers tend to trust that the GCSE results that you have stated you have are correct. Employers also tend to be more concerned about A-levels and your degree than they are about your GCSEs.  

If someone or an organisation request your GCSE certificate you can ask the relevant exam board to send a letter confirming your GCSE grades. In some cases, your employers may request a verification letter from the exam board. Both instances are rare, especially once you are older as they aren’t regarded particularly important but certain employers ask for these grades as they are fundamental in proving you are qualified for an important job. 

 Therefore, you don’t necessarily need replacement GCSE certificates or even a certified statement of results as it isn’t often asked for; however, to prevent any inconveniences in the future it may be worth-while obtaining these certificates, if you don’t already have them. 

GCSE certificates are most commonly asked for when you are age 16-17 (and even then, this is unlikely), this is because employers don’t have much else to judge you on and GCSE’s, tend to offer an overall picture of what you are capable of as a student, and presents employers with some of your strengths and weaknesses. 

If you are further on in your academic or personal career, you may be interested to know about how to find out GCSE results from many years ago. This helpful article is a great read for some more information on the process of obtaining your GCSE grades and certificates from past years.  

Do Employers Check Your GCSE Certificates?  

Whether GCSE certificates are checked depends on employer. For example, some employers do ask for GCSE certificates, particularly if you are involved with the civil service etc. However, most employers don’t check your GCSE certificates as they trust what you have stated in your CV and your GCSEs aren’t regarded by most employers as heavily important. 

 If you have written that you have certain GCSEs on your CV and you are struggling with basic English or calculations etc., it will become clear to employers that you haven’t been honest, and they may decide then to check your GCSE certificates. However, GCSEs show a foundational level of understanding, so even without providing a certificate your employer will be able to identify whether you do have these GCSEs, especially if you are applying for a job in a particular subject and have stated you have high GCSE grades in that subject.  

If you are still doing, your A-Levels, employers are more likely to ask for your GCSE certificates as you have just achieved these qualifications. When you are older, employers are less likely to ask for these certificates because they become increasingly irrelevant, as when you are older you obtain newer and more advanced qualifications and skill sets.  

Employers, certainly will look over the results that you put on your CV, even if they don’t check for certificates, but regardless of this you must remain honest, as they can easily ask for them and it will become clear if you haven’t achieved the results that you have stated on you CV.  

Do Universities Check GCSE Certificates?  

Universities do check your GCSE results but don’t ask for your certificate necessarily as the sixth form or college you are in when doing your A-levels are able to confirm whether the GCSE results you have stated in your application are accurate. You must be truthful regarding your GCSE achievements on your UCAS application, as if you aren’t universities have reason to check for your certificates. If you would like to find out more about universities and their relation to GCSE certificates, take a look at this useful article.  

It is important for universities to check GCSE grades, as they are often a reliable indicator of a student’s potential and GCSE results assist universities when collating information about a student and making a judgement of whether they are suitable to attend a particular university. Checking for GCSE certificates isn’t likely but in certain instances this has been the case. 

Some students do unfortunately lie about their results on their UCAS application form and are subsequently called out on it and the application form is corrected – lying on your UCAS form is pointless as it leaves a bad impression, and you will always be corrected. Universities aren’t likely to ask for your GCSE certificates, but if it is clear that you are lying, they may take this course of action. Make sure to read this useful article, if you want to find out more about why it is a bad idea to lie on your university application.  

What is the Importance of GCSE Certificates?    

GCSE certificates are important because they provide employers and your universities with evidence of the grades that you have stated you have achieved. Although, some employers don’t ask for a certificate and trust that what you have stated about your achievements is true, it does give employers more confidence, especially if they have asked for you certificate and you are able to provide them with one.  

GCSE certificates are more important to have when you are younger, as if you apply for a job or work experience, you are likely to be asked for your certificates as they are the only qualifications you have up until that point. The older you, the less reliable your GCSEs become as an indicator of your ability. A-Levels, your degree, work experience and other qualifications are more accurate indicators of what you are capable of as you move on through your academic career.  

GCSE certificates are important as they are the first proper examinations that you take (apart from your SATs which you take when you are in Year 6) so they are representative of your ability to employers but also to yourself.  

Your GCSE certificates and the grades on them highlight your strengths and are usually reliable indicators of what your potential is. Obviously, GCSEs, aren’t the most important qualification you will receive, but when you have only just received your results, they are the most accurate reflection of your academic skill sets. 

If you want to find out more about why GCSEs themselves are important, take a look at this helpful article 

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